Sexual violence (SV) is any sexual act that is perpetrated againstsomeone’s will.  Often preventing sexual assault feels impossible, and too broad to address with a single person’s actions. ACT JH: To End Sexual Violence disagrees. ACT stands for Agent of Change in the Tetons. The ACT JH movement believes there is a lot that you can do as in individual, as a parent, as a business owner, or as a member of our Jackson Hole community, to prevent sexual assault. Be an Agent of Change in the Teton and ACT: To End Sexual Violence. Here are some things you can do today!

 For people ages 10-14:

 

Even in this young age group, children can begin learning how to create mutually respectful and healthy relationships as well as become aware of situations and friendships that are unhealthy.

  • Be respectful of your classmates and of people around you.
  • Ask your parents or teachers if you feel that a relationship is disrespectful.
  • Brainstorm ways that you could help a person who has been hurt by their friend/significant other.
  • Don’t be violent or accept violence from others.
  • Do not call people bad names or bully people who are different than you.

 

For people ages 15-20:

This is a critical time period in which romantic relationships may begin, and it is important to know how to conduct a healthy, loving relationship, and be aware that abuse and sexual violence exists. This is also a time to solidify an understanding of unhealthy gender norms and their impact on sexuality. By eradicating unhealthy gender norms, you can help to create a society free of sexual violence.

  • Avoid individuals who:
    • don’t respect you
    • ignore personal boundaries
    • express sexist attitudes and jokes
    • are jealous or possessive
  • Be nonviolent and non-judgmental in your interactions with others and acknowledge certain biases that you may have towards others or their opinions.
  • Use peer pressure positively. Condemn the behavior of a peer who has taken advantage of a sexual partner.
  • Advocate for respect between people by standing up for those who are disrespected and voicing your opinion when an offensive joke or story is told.
  • Trust your instinct when assessing the safety and truthfulness of situations and of people.
  • Practice consensual, open dialogue before engaging in sexual activity. This mean always get consent before any sexual activity.
  • Do not participate in sexual activity with someone who is intoxicated and unable to give consent.

For people ages 21-30:

Whether a person is solidifying an already existent relationship, or exploring a variety of different relationships, this time period is crucial for people to become aware of sexual violence, relationship violence and of the resources that are available to victims of this kind of abuse. This is a high risk time for women to be victims of sexual violence and for men to perpetrate sexual violence.

  • Only stay in and develop relationships with people who treat you with respect and kindness.
  • Do not settle (and do not let your friends settle) for people who value control more than your well-being.
  • Practice consensual, open dialogue before engaging in sexual activity. This mean always get consent before any sexual activity.
  • Do not participate in sexual activity with someone who is intoxicated and unable to give consent.
  • Educate yourself and others about community resources and about sexual violence in general.
  • Know your limit when using alcohol.
  • Explore gender roles, and understand where they may stray from true biological facts.
  • When out socializing, always have a friend/buddy who is watching out for you, have a plan to leave with someone you trust, and stick to that plan.
  • Be comfortable discussing sexuality and sexual health. Know that it is ok to be assertive about your beliefs, but never aggressive.

 

For Parents:

As a parent, it is important to practice healthy relationships and educate yourself about healthy sexuality and relationships for your benefit, but also to instill these ideas in your child and portray yourself as an open, knowledgeable role model.

  • Prepare yourself as a parent to talk to your children about healthy sexuality and relationships by learning about what healthy sexuality is and the role that it plays in your child’s generation.
  • Teach your children that it is important to have honest conversations about sexuality and sexual health.
  • Teach your children that when discussing sexual health is important to be assertive about your beliefs, but never aggressive.
  • Believe and advocate that healthy relationships and sexuality are ALWAYS consensual, respectful and informed.
  • Don’t teach your children that they have to behave or act one way because they are “female” or another way because they are “male.” These stereotypical gender norm beliefs are not based in biology and can strongly influence behaviors in relationships and sexuality. Believing that boys or girls “should” act a certain way contributes to unhealthy or even violent behaviors.
  • Model healthy relationship.
  • Use the examples of unhealthy relationships often displayed by the media to begin a conversation with your children about why that is unhealthy and discuss healthy alternatives.
  • Tell your child that they deserve to be treated with respect and with love and that you are a safe persons with whom they can speak to about anything.
  • Model nonjudgmental and open behavior in your interactions with people.
  • Provide balance and respectful sexual behavior. It is important that all genders behave in a way that respects the rights of others. Behavior should be assertive, not aggressive.

For Men:

Men are very important advocates and bystanders to have. Due to the disproportionate amount of men who are abusive in relationships and perpetrate sexual violence, it is men have the power to stop violence against women. Sexual violence and domestic violence is a choice and men have a unique opportunity to promote healthy sexuality and safety in a relationship.

  • Believe that sexual violence is not a “women’s issue” but a human issue and (believe) that the only way to end sexual violence is for men to take a stand against it.
  • Don’t look the other way if a friend, brother, teammate or classmate is disrespecting a partner.  Stand up and tell them that you think they are mistreating that person.
  • Don’t excuse what people do when they are drunk or high. If it is wrong when they’re sober, then it is wrong when they’re drunk.
  • Know that women in your life may be or have been affected by sexual violence. Be a respectful man in their lives and be open to speaking about sexual violence.
  • If you have been emotionally, psychologically, or physically abusive to women, get help now.
  • Do not excuse sexism or believe that being a man is about degrading or abusing women/girls.
  • Provide balance and respectful sexual behavior. It is important that all genders behave in a way that respects the rights of others. Behavior should be assertive, not aggressive.